An Ad Hoc Expert’s Meeting was held in Manila, Philippines from 5 to 7 April 2016 to brainstorm and discuss in detail the subsequent steps that must be undertaken to implement the Asia BCH Road Map by Asian Parties,as an offshoot to the 4th Asia Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) Regional Workshop held in November 2015 in Nanjing, China.
The meeting was organized by the United Nations Environment Programme’s Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (UNEP-DELC) in collaboration and with financial and technical support from the Korea Biosafety Clearing-House/KRIBB from the Republic of Korea and hosted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) from Philippines.
The objective of the meeting was to;
- follow up the implementation of the BCH Asia Road Map agreed in Nanjing, China last year, designate the Informal Consultative Committee (ICC),
- elaborate the 2016 work plan envisaged to enhance Asia’s family Biosafety Clearing House (BCH) capacities and to
- promote sustainable CPB implementation by 2020 and beyond.
It may be recalled that in previous Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) COP-MOP decisions and more recently - BS-VII/1 and 2 on Compliance and Operation and activities of the Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) respectively, Parties, other governments, relevant international and regional organizations were called to undertake or support capacity building initiatives aimed at assisting developing country Parties, in putting in place facilities and technologies that will enable them to submit consistent, up to date, and complete information through the Biosafety Clearing House (BCH), including National Reports on the implementation of the CPB.
In response to these decisions and in line with the Korea Biosafety Capacity Building Initiative as welcomed in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2014, the Republic of Korea, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), provided technical and financial support to organize the Asian BCH Ad Hoc Experts’ Meeting in Phnom Penh from 1 to 2 July 2015. One of the overarching agreements reached in the said meeting was the organization of the 4th Asia BCH Regional Workshop from 17 to 20 November 2015 at Hanfu Hotel in Nanjing, China. Through this Workshop, Parties in Asia discussed, finalized and approved the Asia BCH Road Map which aims to:
- Enhance the capacities of Asian countries to more effectively participate in the BCH; and
- Promote public awareness, education, and participation (PAEP) in order to facilitate sustainable implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) by 2020 and beyond.
- Strategies to mobilize resources and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the Road Map were also formulated.
The Road Map embodies the goals of Parties in the next five years to further its compliance with the Cartagena Protocol, build capacity towards effective participation to the BCH, promote public awareness, education and information, and enhance regional networking and cooperation, which hopefully, if realized, shall bring the region a step closer to the vision of one Asia BCH family.
The Philippines was acknowledged by UNEP and attendees to the meeting to coordinate the implementation of the Asia BCH Road Map. The Philippines is honored and is looking forward to take the lead as the Asia BCH Road Map Coordinator for the first two years of its implementation (2016-2017). Together with the Philippines, appreciation is extended to Parties from the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Cambodia, and the People’s Republic of China who have shared their invaluable time and insights during the three-day meeting.